Saturday, May 28, 2016

PANAMA CANAL (by Ted Reynolds)

I understand your objections to this project
                         said the young man
But have you considered the aesthetical aspects involved?
Not alone
          the merging of East and West, Atlantic and Pacific
Not alone the show of the indomitable energy of Proud Man
Nor even
           the beauty of the thoughts of the hugest steamships
           cruising          like eagles           ninety feet high

But (also) consider
                          the tremendous expense
                                               the myriad ways
                          the cost of the project can be raised
up and
up and
up and
         all in ways unforeseen by the designers this could
         run into trillions of dollars figures that will impress
         future generations

(Also) think of the lives that will be lost
          I have heard no mention of the fact that thousands
          of precious irreplaceable lives are likely to be lost
             malaria fever
                                             and crew bosses' carelessness
think of that - thousands of martyrs to the advancement of progress

You have spoken (also) as if these areas which the canal
                                     would fill were empty they are not
                                      unoccupied there are many
                                      groups of Indians who have lived 
                                      there whose fathers forefathers
                                      have lived there (for a
                                      very long time)
                        Think of these noble Indians
                                        as the waters rise
                                   flooding their homes,
sitting in their ancestral doorways, staring out over
the world of rising waters dark and deep,
and then impassively moving on elsewhere

Think of the beauty of streamlined efficiency
machines          straight lines           power power power

From the high water level the sea level water
below will look like
                            the background of the Mona Lisa 
when the lock chambers are empty during
the expensive overhauls
                            they will look like
     a huge amphitheatre with lights stage-hands
     for extravaganzas like Napoleon's retreat
Gigantic gates, enormous water inlets, towering walls
the huge boats                        (we may wreck a few)

Of course we'll have to build in lots of ugliness
grease sweat and muck
                         to show up the beauty better

But above and beyond all    WE MUST HURRY
industry is catching up with us and in just
a few years it will be possible to do the
same job at one-tenth the cost in money 
lives and work (and do a better job too)
              and where's the achievement in that?

"Ah, yes," said the others, and they de-
            cided to build
        the Panama Canal.

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